DNA link to Irish High King Niall
A study published in the American Journal of Human Genetics (February 2006), conducted at
Trinity College Dublin, revealed that a striking percentage of men in Ireland and Scotland share
the identical chromosome. This suggests that one in twelve Irishmen are descendants of King Niall,
400 AD. Scientists discovered a hotspot in northwest Ireland where, today, 21.5% of the male
population carry Niall's genetic fingerprint. This hotspot is in County Donegal and is near the area
known as Grianan Aileach, a massive ring fort still standing atop Green Mountain, five miles west
of modern day Derry, just inside the Free State of Ireland. This fort was the stronghold of Niall's
Ui Neill royal dynasty that would control most of Ireland for 1200 years. Mary and I were fortunate
to visit County Donegal and Grianan Aileach on one of our visits to Ireland.
Manross male YDNA has been confirmed to be Haplogroup R-M222. Geneticists have dated this
R-M222 signature to 400 AD and it matches the YDNA of High King Niall of the Nine Hostages,
Niall succeeded his uncle, Crimthann, to become the 126th High King of Ireland. The Irish Annals
of the Four Masters states that "Niall began to reign in 379 AD. He was not only the paramount
king of Ireland, but one of the most powerful to ever hold that office. He was, therefore, one of
the few Irish kings able to mobilize great forces for foreign expeditions." Niall travelled to Scotland
to extend his power and to create alliances with the Scots and Picts (local tribe in Scotland) after
first defeating them. He organized the Dal Riada which became the name for this conglomeration
of Irish, Scots and Picts. He marched to Laegria and sent a fleet to Amorica (France) to plunder.
Keating, in his History of Ireland, states that "St. Patrick was brought as a captive to Ireland in the
ninth year in the reign of Niall". This occurred while Niall was on a raiding expedition to Scotland
and France. An Irish fleet travelled to the place where Patrick (then age 16 and known as Mewyn
Succat) lived. As was the custom of Irish raiders, they brought a large number of hostages back to
Ireland including Patrick, his two sisters Lupida and Daererca, and approximately 200 other children.
Patrick escaped after six years and returned home. During this period Patrick had three spiritual
experiences, including "the Call of the Irish" where he became convinced his mission was to bring
Christianity to Ireland. He went on to become the Patron Saint of Ireland. Niall, on the other hand,
died a pagan. But thanks to St. Patrick's efforts in Ireland, Niall's descendants (the Ui Neill) became
foremost in promoting and endowing the early Christian Church in Ireland.
Irish history records that Niall was descended from Milesius of Spain who led his followers to
invade and conquer Ireland around 500 BC. In the late 1800's genealogies were written of the
beloved High King Niall. These genealogies show that Milesius was the 36th generation of descent
from Adam and Eve. Niall was shown to be the of the 87th generation. These genealogies show
names for each generation including Niall's sons, up through 1690 and back to Adam and Eve.
They are published in "Irish Pedigrees or the Origin and Stem of the Irish Nation" by John O'Hart.
His book is one of the best known Irish genealogical publications in the world. The most quoted
edition was published in New York in 1923.